Built IN a Manger
“Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of His household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the chief cornerstone.”- Ephesians 2:19-20
Have you ever found much of what marks Christmas celebrations throughout December is about making “THINGS FIT”? It starts with the decorations: the lights need to be evenly distributed on the house; the tree requires a series of wiggling and shaking to have it sit properly (and straight) in the stand; and it takes a herculean effort to place the star or angel squarely on top of the tree. It moves to the presents: making sure we have enough wrapping paper and the right size gift bags; finding the perfect place in the house to hide the gifts until Christmas Eve; and moving the gifts around so that they can all fit under the tree. It even affects our schedules: we mark up the calendar with various events; we move into overdrive at work in order to enjoy a few days off during the holidays; and we even shuffle people around in the house (sleeping arrangements) to welcome an out-of-town family member or guest.
All of this speaks to how people deeply desire to experience the PERFECT FIT in their lives. We go to great lengths and often great pains to see things work out, line up, add up, fall into place, and be neatly packaged. We put much thought and effort into each day, each relationship, and each activity in order to see something produced that is healthy, fruitful, rewarding, and long-lasting. As we quickly approach Christmas day, I am reminded how important it is to allow Jesus to be our sole focus, our pure joy, and our perfect gift!
When we look back at the scene of Christ’s entrance into the world, we see the people who arrived at the place where the Son of God resided were amazed and changed by their encounter. The Wise Men worshiped with gifts, the Shepherds rejoiced and declared the good news to others, Simeon and Anna were led and filled by the Spirit, and even Mary was deeply moved in her heart by the birth of her son. The Christmas experience, or better put the Christ encounter had a profoundly powerful effect on each one:
Matthew 2:11- “On coming to the house, they saw the Child with His mother Mary and they bowed down and worshiped Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.”
Luke 2:20- “The Shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things which they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.”
Luke 2:28- “Simeon took the baby in his arms and praised God.”
Luke 2:38- “Coming up to them at that very moment, Anna gave thanks to God and spoke about the Child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.”
How majestic is the miracle of Christmas, where God orchestrated His plan, released an overflow of His love to people, and through the birth of Jesus delivered the overcoming work of His light into the world. While many continue to take the world’s path of building life on material possessions, physical relationships, and personal accomplishments, let’s choose this season to be perfectly fitted in the presence and promise of God through the person of Jesus. When we build our lives on the One who came from heaven to be born in a manger, our lives will be marked by His perfect strength and not our present messes. After the Christmas festivities, when the tree is placed on the curb, the lights are put back in the garage, the guests have returned to their homes, and the gifts are exchanged at the store, how wonderful it is to know that life’s “PERFECT FIT” is not based on a set of holiday happenings, but in a life built by the hope of Christ!